CDOT tips and laws for winter driving

Colorado Department of Transportation gives tips to motorists for the upcoming winter storm and season.
Cars driving eastbound on Patterson Road in Grand Junction
Cars driving eastbound on Patterson Road in Grand Junction(KKCO / KJCT)
Published: Dec. 9, 2021 at 2:41 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - With an upcoming winter storm that will arrive in the Western Slope on Thursday, the Colorado Department of Transportation is giving motorists winter driving tips.

CDOT recommends drivers prepare for foul weather. They say motorists should carry extra items in their cars in case of an emergency. Some items they recommend include a first aid kit, blankets, non-perishable food, and water. Motorists should also check their tires and look up the road conditions before commuting out.

When checking tires, CDOT wants to remind motorists of two laws for passenger vehicles.

The first law is the Traction Law. CDOT says requirements for the Traction Law is in effect for passenger vehicles. Vehicles have to be 4-Wheel Drive (4WD) or All Wheel Drive (AWD), as well as have a 3/16″ tread with either mud or snow, all-season, or winter tires. If a car is Front Wheel Drive (FWD), it must have chains or an alternative traction device installed on the wheels if traction law goes into effect.

From September through May, all commercial vehicles have to carry chains to comply with Colorado’s Chain Law. However, passenger vehicles can also have chains on tires if the Traction Law is in place. Therefore, if the Chain Law is in effect for every car, drivers must have chains or some alternative traction device regardless of whether a vehicle is 4WD or AWD, to meet the tire requirements for the Traction Law.

If a vehicle is pulled over by a state trooper when any of these laws are in effect, and the vehicle is not in compliance, fines can be as steep as $600.

Additionally, CDOT reminds motorists of the Tandem Snowplow Law, it is extremely dangerous and illegal for drivers to pass a snowplow when the truck is displaying its lights and operating in a tandem formation with one or more snowplows.

“While it was always a bad idea to try and pass a plow that’s working, that’s actively plowing a road. Now it’s actually illegal,” said Andrew Hogle, CDOT Public Information Officer.

Hogle mentions that the public must obey this snowplow law when snowplows are actively working. For snowplows to be actively working, motorists will notice a blue light flashing on top and two or more of them in a staggered position as one plow pushes snow to the one right next to it. Hogle states that it is not only illegal to pass snowplows when they are working, but it is also safer to be behind them because of fresh plowed streets and roadways.

Once again, just like the Traction Law and Chain Law, fines will be given if the Tandem Snowplow Law is not followed.

CDOT has an app on the app store for both Apple iPhones and Android devices that provides more information, including road conditions, current traction and chain laws, and live cameras.

For more information, please visit

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